Items We Adore: LTD?s Product Picks For The Week

why limit happy to one hourAnother week is over and it is finally time for the weekend! We think Fridays should be reserved for fun and relaxation, which is why we?re highlighting the perfect happy hour essentials for Friday happy hour at home. You don?t have to get dressed up; you don?t have to worry about crowded bars, and you don?t even have to put on real pants! Change out of those uncomfortable shoes immediately and kick up your feet for a fun happy hour at home. Now?s the time to send the invitation around to your favorite happy hour crew and have them join you at home for a relaxing night with your favorite friends.

Frosted Fun Stem-Less Wine Glasses

Stems make your glass look classy and elegant, all while trying to disguise the fact that you?re going to down that Chardonnay long before it gets warm. Ditch the stem and opt for these fun stem-less wine glasses instead. They?ve got great phrases like, ?Why limit happy to one hour?? and ?Drinks well with others.? The frosted sheen is perfect for hiding drying water droplets so you don?t have to worry about polishing them before placing them out on the table. They?re also great for serving fruit juice on the rocks and soda for the drivers.

Prescription Bottle Kooler

We love these great novelty coolers for keeping your beer cold and the mood light. Perfect for hiding a cheap-o bottle of beer, or for enhancing the humor of any beer you?ve got! We love the Prescription Bottle cooler, because self-medicating is what happy hour is all about, but you can grab the whole set of four and let your guests decide.

Playing Card Set Tin

Start up a friendly game of cards with The King himself this weekend using these great playing cards. Go ahead and make up a drinking game, or just play a few rounds of everyone?s favorite poker game. You deserve the opportunity to unwind with a little interesting competition.

Can Dispenser Shelves

If things are getting really out of hand on Friday, you?re sure to run out of classy wine and bottled beer. You might want to grab a box of wine just in case, and you?re definitely going to need back-up cans of beer. Well, what better way to keep those cans of beer cold than nestled together in the fridge on these can dispenser shelves? And, if you?ve got a few designated drivers in the bunch, this is a good place to store the soft drinks for the sober ones.

Party Snacks Cookbook

No happy hour is complete without the right spread of delicious snacks, and we recommend checking out this Party Snacks Cookbook for some great ideas at a bargain! With great snack-attack selections like stuffed mushrooms and veggie quesadillas to BLT bites and sweet peanut butter cup popcorn, you?ll never want to leave the house for happy hour again! (And, if you?re a guest for an at-home happy hour, all of these Party Snacks recipes travel well!)

Hors D?oeuvres Baking Set

Last but not least, you can make anything into fun bite-sized happy hour snacks with this great hors d?oeuvres baking set. Make your own little brownies, mini muffins, baked Brie bites, or stuffed spinach-artichoke sliders for your happy hour get-together. Everyone will love the tiny hors d?oeuvres and this baking set makes preparation a breeze! Now get outta here and enjoy your Friday!

The Story Behind Your Favorite Gems

Gem-StonesColored gemstones are more than just pretty to look at. Some people have even assigned meanings and characteristics. If you believe in that sort of thing, you may want to check out your jewelry box and see what each piece says about you. Look at your most favorite gemstones. Does it surprise you that they match your personality so well? Or is it the exact opposite? Take a look at the meanings behind the most popular stones on the market and see how they relate to you.

Diamond

It?s most common appearance is of the colorless kind, yet can also be found sporting hues of pink, green, blue, brown, and even black. Once believed to be ?splinters of stars fallen to earth from the heavens? by the ancient Greeks, the diamond symbolizes love, beauty, and purity. It is thought to bring clarity of thought and has been used in intellectual pursuits as well as meditation.

Emeralds

These gems are beautiful green stones that are just as at home in a silver or platinum setting as they are in gold. It has been said it was the sacred stone favored by the goddess Venus and is associated with female fertility. Some say emeralds actually promote psychic insight and can help with memory and focus.

Sapphire

You might not realize that they are more than just blue stones. They also come in pink, green, and colorless varieties. Popular among those of the royal bloodline, they are associated with calmness, truthfulness, and devotion. They were called ?celestial gems? by the ancients due to the varying colors matching the sky at any given time during the day from sunrise to sunset.

Pearl

Pearls have often been associated with the moon thanks to their moonlike appearance. They come in a variety of colors and each has its own characteristic. White pearls, not surprisingly, give an air of purity and innocence while gold pearls are associated with prosperity and wealth, much like the precious metal gold.

Peridot

These gems are a stunning neon or olive green stone that has been favored by many over the years. There are those that think some of Cleopatra?s emeralds were actually peridot. Napoleon even gave his mistress, Josephine, one as a token of his love and devotion. They are thought to help with sleep, strength, and positive attitude.

Bloodstone

This stone has been called the ?Hero?s Gemstone? as it is thought to provide the wearers with courage and help them to overcome difficulties. Athletes in Greece and Rome wore them as they thought they would help increase their endurance.

So, now that you?ve seen a little insight into the meanings and characteristics of some of the more popular gemstones, do they coincide with any of your own principles or personality? If not, it really doesn?t matter. If you truly love the stones you?ve chosen, just assign your own meaning to them and continue to wear them with pride. Just check out this online jewelry store and find a piece that speaks to you.

Cabin Fever: How to Entertain Your Kids This Winter

kids playingMost of the U.S has been experiencing the worst winter in many years. We’ve seen wind chills fall as low as negative 40 degrees in some areas of the country! With temperatures this low it’s not safe for the kiddos to go out and play, but what are they to do? Below is a quick list of things to do in your home to keep the kids happy and your sanity in tact.

Hot Chocolate Bar

With sub-zero temperatures outside, it?s not always easy to stay warm inside. Instead of simply huddling together in front of the fireplace, how about making a fun hot chocolate bar with different kinds of toppings? From peppermint sticks to marshmallows to sprinkles to whipped cream, there are plenty of fun things to add to your hot chocolate. Have your kids help prepare the different toppings and set up the hot chocolate bar, and then have fun making different concoctions. For added fun, invite a few of their friends over and make it into a party!

Play Active Indoor Games

There are plenty of indoor games that help get you and kids moving without putting a football through the TV. Start with simple games that require a little activity like WiFit, charades, and indoor Olympics. You can also have a great time by creating an indoor obstacle course! Have the kids follow a specific path, such as over the back of the couch, under the kitchen table, etc., and give them little challenges along the way, like bouncing a ball in a hula hoop, or doing a somersault.

Dress Up and Put on a Show

Got a few fancy dresses and Halloween costumes? What about props and accessories? Pull out whatever dress-up materials you can find and plan a play for you and the kids to put on at the end of the day! You can make up your own script, or base it on a popular story like Frozen or The Lion King. Check out your kids? fun books and comics for ideas. It?s a great way to pass a snow day!

Build a Blanket City

Yeah, not just a fort, build an entire city. Pull out blankets, ladders, sofa cushions, throws, and all the pillows you can find, and actually create blanket forts throughout the entire house (maybe skip the kitchen and bathrooms). You can name each room, create a royal city, and pretend the hallways are moats so you have to row your (skateboard) boat to get from room to room. This is a great game for a Friday or Saturday so you can leave the forts up overnight!

Have Fun in the Kitchen

Cold and icy snow days remind us of baking cookies and getting marshmallow mustaches from hot chocolate, so give your kids the same memories! Make it a little healthier by cutting vegetables into fun shapes, making fruit kebabs, or even making snowmen out of varying sizes of fruits! You can also get crazy with decorative cookies, making your own chocolate, snowman cupcakes, and more. If you?ve got older kids, you can use this opportunity to teach them to make special family recipes.

Image Source: Fun Family Education

Growing a Garden: Six Steps to Eating Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

With all the interest in healthier eating, many people want to grow?fruits and vegetables in their own backyards. Having your own supply at your fingertips can help you save money and increase your cooking options; you can also make tending your garden into a family activity. Although it may sound daunting, starting your own garden isn’t that difficult.

Here are some good vegetable and fruit selections for the first-time backyard gardener.

Salad Greens

LettuceGrowing your own salad greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula, mustard green, or kale doesn’t require a garden plot; you can grow a nice selection of greens in containers, pots, or window boxes, too. Using a quality potting mix is important. Greens grow well from seeds, and many garden shops offer seeds with a mix of greens for variety. Most will require some fertilizer when the plants are 4-6 inches tall. Since these are rapid-growing plants, you can often start harvesting leaves a few weeks after planting. Salad green plants can produce from spring until fall, giving your tasty salads for most of the year.

Tomatoes

New gardeners love tomatoes, but they’re popular with gardeners in many places where the citizens are health-conscious like Rancho Mission Viejo. There are many versions of slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes to choose from. Tomato plants can grow in containers like salad greens or in your yard but do need full sunlight and plenty of water. Seeds or transplants both can be used to start your tomatoes; as they grow, fertilizer, mulching, and staking can help your tomatoes reach their potential.

To control the plant growth and lower the risk of fungus, you’ll need to prune lower leaves and branches. The ripe tomatoes should be harvested twice a week during warm weather.

Radishes

Radish A less common choice for your first garden would be the radish. These root vegetables are easy to grow and grow very fast in a few weeks. These can grow in containers or in a garden plot; however, they do thrive in cool seasons so you should plant them in the spring and fall. A lot of sunlight is key for these plants. Without it, they’ll grow bigger leaves and fewer vegetables. Radishes will deteriorate if they’re harvested in a timely fashion; you can also take the radish greens for salads, as well.

Green Beans

Green beans are also popular for the first-time gardener. Some beans grow as vines and will need a support system while others may grow as a bush. Green beans also grow during the warm months and need full sunlight and significant amounts of water. When the plants bloom, there will be bees and other insects to help with the pollination. During this time, you should avoid using too much pesticide that might interfere with this process. Green beans can be harvested between 50 and 80 days after planting.

Strawberries

StrawberriesAnother fruit that can work for the home gardener is the?strawberry. ?These are spreading plants that send out runners that can take up a lot of space. However, you can grow them in confined spaces like hanging containers, boxes, or pots. No matter where you plant them, you have to make sure they can get full sunlight. If you use a portable container, you can move the plant around to maximize sun exposure or protect from harsh weather. Strawberry plants can produce fruit for several years.

Herbs

Safe choices for your first garden are herbs like basil, rosemary, coriander, or dill. Many herbs are easy to grow and can be used in a number of dishes and even with your new vegetables. Herbs can be grown in pots, containers, or in your garden plot. Most herbs need to be in areas with good drainage because they don’t grow well in wet soil. You can plant several types of herbs in the same garden; however, some like mint will overgrow your garden.

Of course, your location will influence what items you can grow. But if you take care of your growing garden ? no matter your location ? you can be eating as well as any community. To improve your health and give your kitchen a kick, start your own garden.

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks For The Week

silhouette garden planterWe see clearer skies and warmer days ahead, so today?s picks are all about your garden! It?s time to start thinking about the best ways to get things blossoming this year, and LTD Commodities can help! Here are our weekly picks for items to spruce up your garden this spring!

Silhouette With Wagon Planter

Set the right tone in your garden with this perfectly adorable silhouette with wagon planter! You can choose from either a boy riding a tractor or a girl with a bonnet pulling the wagon. You simply attach the silhouette to the planter and it looks like he or she is pulling your planter! We love the cute nostalgic charm this planter brings to the garden, and think everyone should have one on his or her spring decorating list!

Solar Metal Garden Birds

Want to get a little tropical in the yard without resorting to plastic flamingos? How about these cute solar metal garden birds instead? You have the choice of a cool blue peacock or a warm coral flamingo, both with glowing orbs that run on solar power! The panels save up the sunlight during the day, and then the solar power is used to light the orbs at night. This is the perfect addition to gardens that do a lot of evening entertaining!

Boy & Girl on Bench Garden Statue

We just had Valentine?s Day, but how cute is this bench garden statue? Reminiscent of the old Precious Moments knick-knacks, this statue is a cute addition to any garden d?cor. This detailed statue is durable cold cast ceramic, so it will surely outlast every plant in your garden! Set it up near your flowerbeds for the perfect effect.

Hanging Animal Bird Feeders

Do you like the sound of birds chirping in your garden? Are you always trying to feed your feathered friends? Whether you?re a bonafide bird-watcher or not, these great hanging bird feeders are perfect for every bird lover. Coming in a number of different animal shapes, including a frog, fish, and ladybug, these great feeders add the perfect touch of fun to any garden design.

Pocket Hose Ultra

Now that we?ve got the garden d?cor items covered, it?s time to talk about function! We love this pocket hose, which is available in both 50-foot and 75-foot versions. This clever hose features and expanding accordion design, so it fits perfectly in small spaces, but expands when in use. Made from rubber, nylon, and plastic, it is stronger than traditional hoses, and never kinks or knots while you?re trying to use it! When the dry summer weather arrives, you?ll be so glad you ordered one of these!

Buying the Best Computer for Your Family’s Needs: A Brief Guide

Shop-for-a-computerWith all of the options available today, buying a computer can seem like an overwhelming purchase that you’re never 100 percent sure of. This is especially true if you’re buying one that has to meet the wants and needs of everyone in the family household. Whether it’s your children playing video games or you reading the news and checking your email, there’s a computer out there to satisfy your preferences.

With that said, here’s how to buy the best computer for your family.

Decide Between a Mac and a PC

Although most computers are similar on the inside, the debate between which one is superior continues?and likely will for years to come. If you’re thinking about your family and your budget, though, it’s good to know that Macs generally cost more (they use quality materials and include a state-of-the-art design).

With that said, Mac only carries five computer lines including the Macbook Air, the Mac mini, the Macbook Pro, the Mac Pro, and the iMac. PCs, however, come in a variety of shapes and sizes for a cheaper price. With more options to consider without the hefty price tag, PC could very well be the way to go.

OK, so deciding which to choose isn’t exactly easy, so check out this article?that dives more in depth when comparing the two popular computer brands. Doing so will help you save time and anguish.

Decide Between a Desktop and a Laptop

Generally speaking, a desktop computer will feature higher performance specs than a laptop within the same price range. If you have kids that are into high-end gaming, or high-performance photo or video editing software, then you’ll likely want to opt for a desktop computer.

Although your need for speed may attract you to buy a desktop computer, especially if it’s a computer that the family will be using in the household, you might want to consider a laptop for portability purposes and if your everyday requirements are minimal (like checking email or surfing the web). Not only that, but you can find laptop deals at just about any store you choose to shop at for your computer needs.

Here’s another informative article that’ll give you further insight about whether to buy a desktop or a laptop.

Decide Which Software You Want Included

Another feature to consider when purchasing a computer is what kind of programs it comes with, without you having to buy additional software. Here are some standard apps that newer Macs and PCs offer their consumers.

Mac:

  • Safari. The standard Internet browser that comes with Macs.
  • Mail. Works with iCloud, Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, and Microsoft Exchange.
  • Mac App Store. What to purchase an additional app? This is where you’ll do it.
  • iPhoto. Offers everything you need to do everything you want with your pictures.
  • iMovie. Edit and share your videos.
  • GarageBand. If someone in your household has an ear for music, GarageBand can help them create it.
  • Pages. This is essentially Mac’s version of Word.
  • Numbers. This is essentially Mac’s version of Excel.

Click here for a more comprehensive list of built-in apps found on new Macs.

PC:

  • Internet Explorer. Yes, Windows is still unfortunately using this browser by default.
  • Mail. Works with Hotmail, Outlook, and Gmail.
  • The Windows Store. If you want or need additional apps, this is where you’ll go.
  • Photos. Using this app, you can view photos stored in your SkyDrive, Flickr, or Facebook account online.
  • Xbox Video. Xbox-branded video app lets you play your own videos.
  • Microsoft Suite. The industry standard when it comes to creating documents and crunching numbers.

Click here for a more comprehensive list of built-in app found on new PCs.

Decide on the Specifications You Want

Deciding which specs you want your computer to have depends on what you want to use it for. There’s a range of factors to consider that’ll influence how fast your want your computer to run and how much memory it has. The more you feed it, the larger the price tag. Here’s a great resource for crafting your perfect computer spec list.

Decide on Warranties and Accessories

Once you’ve picked out a computer that’ll fit your family’s needs, you’ll likely either browse through the numerous accessories you can buy for it or approach the cash register and get asked whether you want a warranty. This is all subjective, but here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether to fork out the money for a warranty.

With all this in mind, what kind of computer do you plan on purchasing?

Quick Tips for Cleaning Day

cleaningWe all dread cleaning day, and sometimes it seems like a task too big to manage. Don?t worry; at LTD Commodities we?re sharing some of our favorite tips for making cleaning a little more manageable! Just like anything else in life, it?s important to get organized and commit to the task, so roll up your sleeves and follow these quick tips for cleaning day.

Make a List & Schedule

Your first step should be listing out all of the rooms that need to be cleaned, what items you?ll need for each room, and how frequently they must be cleaned. This may seem like a lot of work at first, but 20 minutes of organization and scheduling can make for a much better cleaning day down the road. Schedule out what you will clean and when throughout the month, and hang your list and schedule on the closet door where your keep your cleaning supplies!

Stock Supplies

Just like you would if you were running a business, you should keep an eye on your inventory. Have a list of all the cleaning supplies you use, and check on them regularly. If you are running low, make sure you add it to the shopping list before it?s time to clean again! This includes kitchen and laundry supplies such as sponges, detergent, laundry storage and more. ?If you use homemade cleaners, make sure your raw ingredients are fully stocked. It?s always a good idea to buy in bulk if you?ve got a little storage room, this way you will only have to shop a couple of times a year. Now you have no excuses to put off that Saturday morning cleaning for another week!

Carry a Caddy

Grab a standard, cheap-o shower caddy from the store and stock it with your cleaning supplies so you can carry them all with you around the house. If you keep a lot of cleaners, stock different caddies with supplies for different rooms. Think all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and powdered cleanser for the bathroom caddy, with gloves for your hands, plenty of sponges and rags, and coffee filters for cleaning windows. Make sure you?ve also got toilet tablets and brushes! For the bedrooms, you?ll want dusters, wood polish, and carpet spot cleaner.

Pump Up The Jams

There is a reason people listen to music on long car rides, walks, and high-tempo runs; it makes everything better! Make your cleaning tasks more enjoyable by pumping up some of your favorite songs. You can even treat yourself to a brand-new album on cleaning day to keep you motivated. You can find songs all your helpers enjoy, or kick them out of the house to work on the yard while you jam out to pop music and 80?s rock. You can dance and sing your way to a cleaner home.

Follow Top-to-Bottom Protocol

Always start with the top of the room and finish with the bottom. That means dusting the fan and ceiling?is first, and sweeping/vacuuming/steam cleaning the floor comes last! This method should be followed for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and any other room in your home. Wash windows, then clean and scrub sinks and counters, and finally hit the baseboards and floors. If you miss a few crumbs when you clean off the table, they?ll end up on the floor, which is fine because you cleverly saved that for last!

Rotate Rooms By Week

If you?ve got super busy weekends, it might be impossible to designate an entire day to cleaning your entire home. Instead, you can rotate the rooms you need to clean. Organize your cleaning schedule with more time-consuming rooms getting their own day, and easier rooms getting paired up. Maybe start off with all the bathrooms, and then clean all the bedrooms and the living room another weekend, and finally the kitchen and dining area. If you keep everything on about a 3-week rotation, no room should become too dirty to handle!

Image Source: Spring Clean Citrus

A Busy Mom’s Guide to Less-Stressful Life

Busy-momThe stress and anxiety brought about by the rigors of modern living can definitely take away every ounce of energy that we have. Not to mention the struggle to achieve peace of mind every day and every night. If you are a mom who is constantly having bouts with the adverse effects of stress, read further for some helpful tips.

Rise and shine early

Nothing beats the feeling of waking up to the silence of early morning. This is the best part of the day to work on tasks that demand focus and crucial decision making skills. Remember that majority of successful people have the habit of waking up early. They always make sure that they are up right before anyone else in the house does. This is because they want to take advantage of the quietness, fresh air as well as fresh mind to make certain plans and set the mood right for the rest f the

Find time for a short retreat

A retreat does not have to be done the entire day. You can also do this as soon as you wake up in the morning or you may do this at the end of the day or before your bedtime. Make sure that everybody else in the house has already been locked in their respective rooms to ensure that there will be nobody who will disturb you. A short retreat may mean performing some deep breathing exercises for a couple of minutes or practice some Yoga moves. This will help you achieve a more balanced life as you try to purge your thoughts of any negative things on a daily basis.

Find time to be disconnected

The emergence of iPods, iPads, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets has made almost every home these days a noisy one. It has become so hard for some mothers to find some quiet time. This is why you have to set a schedule everyday to unplug yourself from all the noise of these modern day gadgets. If you feel like you are all too stressed out, then do not watch the news. Turn off your smartphone and stay away from your PC. Today, stressed mothers not only need an exercise but they also need that thing called ?gadget-fast? in which all the gadgets will be turned off for a few hours during a specific time of the day to be able to de-stress.

Avoid procrastinating

If you feel like you do not have enough motivation to do something important, then stop looking for motivations. Just do things in a small yet progressive manner. This way, you will find yourself progressing from one task to another even if you do not feel like doing it. Our micro-actions will serve as the best antidote for procrastination. It keeps us moving despite lacking the motivation to do so. Remember that as a parent you do not need to have motivation in everything that you do. It may seem sad but there are indeed times when you need to do things because you need to and find motivation in the thought that you are actually making things happen little by little.

Learn to adapt

Are you the type of mother who easily breaks down at the thought that dinner is not yet ready at 7 o?clock? Well, if you find your little kids yelling at each other at this hour of the day, the best thing to do in that particular moment is to meddle in your children?s issues instead of frantically making yourself some dinner only to find that your kids are not yet ready any way to have dinner. Learn to adapt yourself to the inevitability of the things around you and stop sweating the small stuff.

Once you have done all the above mentioned tips do not forget to smile and reward yourself with a treat to a few hours of doing nothing but just listening to your favorite music. Life is so beautiful to waste it all on being stressed with the daily concerns of parenting.

Ryan Rivera is a parent, a writer and a lover of healthy lifestyle habits. He has this passion for sharing his tips and tricks to all of his readers to help them enjoy de-stress on a daily basis and enjoy life to the fullest. Please check out his Calm Clinic Twitter account for more helpful tips.

5 Facts You Didn?t Know About President?s Day

Presidents_Day_rushmore flag

Today is Presidents? Day! And while many of you are enjoying a 3-day weekend, plenty of states and businesses don?t recognize this as a non-working holiday. The history of this holiday has always been a bit confusing, but here are a few fun facts to keep you entertained this Presidents? Day Monday.

1) Officially Called ?George Washington?s Birthday??

The very first Presidents? Day was purely a recognition of George Washington and took place on his birthday, February 22nd, 1885, which was 86 years after his death. Some states celebrated Washington?s birthday on the 22nd and Lincoln?s birthday on February 12th. It the 1950?s there was a movement to choose one day between the two birthdays to commemorate both, and to this date, the Federal Government still recognizes the holiday as ?Washington?s Birthday,? while most states and individuals commonly call it ?Presidents? Day.?

2) Lincoln?s Birthday Ignored

While many states and businesses still celebrate Lincoln?s Birthday, nothing about Lincoln is officially commemorated by any holiday according to the Federal Government.

3) Traditional Cherry Dishes

Many people still celebrate Presidents? Day by eating cherries in various forms, including cobblers, pies, cakes, and breads. This comes from the old legend regarding Washington?s honesty about chopping down a cherry tree. You can find tons of recipes on line for Washington?s Cherry Cobbler or the Cherry Chocolate Lincoln Log.

4) The Reading of the 1796 Farewell Address

To this day, there is a traditional annual reading of President Washington?s 1796 Farewell Address in the Senate. This tradition began as a way to boost morale during the Civil War on Washington?s Birthday in 1862. The first person to read the address was the Secretary of the Senate, John W. Forney.

5) Major Sales

In the 1980?s, retailers began using the three-day Presidents? Day weekend to clear out old winter stock. To this day, you can see major sales across various retail outlets as they attempt to do a little ?spring cleaning? of their own. It?s nothing like Black Friday, but you can often find much better deals on apparel during this February sale than at any other time of the year.

Image Source: CCSU Library